2017: The Year of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific

21 December 2017 | Francis Prince Thangasamy, Vice President, Product Management, Asia Pacific

2017 has been eventful for digital transformation in Asia Pacific.

All across the region, countries and governments have been ramping up their digital initiatives. Singapore has raised the level of its Smart Nation programs, with the intention of making its citizens’ lives better with convenient services such as e-payment systems. Malaysia’s recent plans for Budget 2018 will further drive the country’s digital economy. Meanwhile, Thailand has also taken significant steps toward achieving its Thailand 4.0 vision, transforming the industries in the Land of Smiles with the power of digitization.

CenturyLink is honored to be able to operate amid such opportunities in the region. The year has been significant for both our company and our customers. 

Asia Pacific is ahead in digitization

Through our study with 451 Research, we discovered that the region led in terms of digital transformation maturity. More companies here have a formal strategy and are actively digitizing their business processes as compared to those in North America and Europe. Over one-third of companies in the region see their industries being majorly disrupted by digital technologies and expect the effect to carry on through the next three years.

Industries like healthcare and retail feel the effects more profoundly. According to 451 Research, 34 percent of Asia Pacific healthcare organisations said they saw heavy digital disruption in the past three years. Factors such as ageing populations and epidemics like diabetes have forced healthcare organizations to change the way they administer healthcare. Several are turning to digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and IoT to automate processes and ramp up the productivity of healthcare teams.

Meanwhile in the retail industry, companies are finding themselves in an increasingly competitive battlefield. The rise of online e-commerce giants and the increasing demands of the digital consumer are putting the pressure on companies. About 46 percent expect digital disruption to increase over the next three years. Many retailers are beginning to leverage data to understand consumer behavior to design offerings that deliver personalized customer experiences.

Securing and accelerating digital transformation

To help companies accelerate and secure their digital transformations, we are constantly evolving our suite of networking solutions and IT services.

Our recent acquisition of Level 3 Communications will further expand our hybrid IT offerings to add more value for our customers. The combination has made us one of the largest network services companies in the world—and Asia Pacific customers stand to benefit from the extended network reach, broader solutions portfolio, and more secure connectivity.

We are pleased to have made a real impact on our customers’ digital transformation. CenturyLink was named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed Hybrid Cloud Hosting, Asia Pacific, an accolade that we have held for the past three years.

Intelligent proactive security amid evolving threats

While digital transformation has heated up in the region, the cybersecurity landscape has also evolved rapidly, with organizations facing an increasing number of risks due to cyber attacks and a gap in addressing these challenges. The recent Uber data breach that potentially compromised 57 million users once again highlights the dangers of cyber threats. Furthermore, the devastating Petya and WannaCry ransomware showed that measures built on traditional signature-based detection are no longer sufficient.

Digital capabilities bring technology and data closer to customers, but the benefits of transformation can never be fulfilled without robust security. For instance, mobile, wireless, and IoT technologies are unlocking new customer experiences. However, they can potentially cause complications when it comes to tracking the flow of data and protecting it wherever it is located.

Organizations today have to adopt a proactive security stance with real-time threat intelligence to ensure the security of their data and business assets are not compromised. To that end, we launched our Managed Security Services 2.0 suite in Asia Pacific to help organizations protect against cyber risks. With advanced security monitoring, threat detection, and incident response services, they can turn their security approach from “flight to fight”, one powered by global threat intelligence that can detect and respond to the most sophisticated security incidents.

Taking the SAP highway to digital transformation

Digitizing business processes are also fundamental to the success of any companies undergoing their digital transformation journey. Plus, with the amount of data being created and stored, organizations are sitting on a mountain of insights waiting to be mined through analytics. Hence, many organizations tap SAP solutions to eliminate complexity and make data-driven decisions to run their live, digital businesses. However, migrating to and operating SAP deployments can be challenging—especially if organizations lack the in-house expertise and talent.

In order to assist organizations in overcoming this challenge, CenturyLink offers comprehensive services and expertise that bridge the gap. This year, we also became the authorized premium supplier for SAP HANA® Enterprise Cloud in the region. Customers that wish to leverage this cloud-based platform can now tap our services to ease the burden of migration and operations.

Asia Pacific has created a strong digital transformation momentum in 2017. This will no doubt carry organizations through 2018 and beyond. As the region races to a digital future, companies need to keep their foot on the pedal when it comes to digitization. Through the journey, they must be vigilant of security vulnerabilities and be able to leverage solutions like SAP to get a leg up in the race. More importantly, they should seek out high-value partners that can speed their journey. Here at CenturyLink, we look forward to more opportunities to help customers accelerate their digital transformation journey.

Follow CenturyLink Asia Pacific on LinkedIn or visit our website for more insights into accelerating and securing your digital transformation journey.

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